COLUMBUS (WCMH) — People across Ohio are surprised by Dr. Amy Acton’s decision to step down as the director of the Ohio Department of Health. Dr. Acton has become a household name in the state as Gov. Mike Dewine’s right-hand medical expert in the state’s fight against COVID-19.
“This particular hero’s white coat is embossed with the name Dr. Amy Acton,” Gov. Dewine said after he announced Dr. Acton was resigning.
Ohioans quickly began to recognize Dr. Acton when she started giving daily COVID-19 updates alongside the governor back in March. She connected with Ohioans through her analogies comparing the coronavirus to a storm coming and the different means of protection to Swiss cheese.
“I like her because I want to be a doctor when I grow up and she’s helping a lot of people get through this time,” said seven-year-old Mia Arutyunov.
Arutyunov says after finding out about Dr. Acton, she wants to be a doctor even more. She also helped her younger sister dress up as Dr. Acton and make a video acting like her. The video has been viewed thousands of times. Their family is one of many surprised by Dr. Acton’s resignation.
“I was shocked,” said Paige Arutyunov, the girls’ mother. “Not only has she become a great role model for so many girls and women across the state of Ohio, but I think she has been a calming force.”
The surprise was felt at Weiland’s Market too. The grocery store has been selling ‘Thank you, Dr. Amy cookies for weeks.
“I’m shocked. I’m glad she’s staying with the state. I hope they continue to listen to her,” said Jennifer Williams, owner of Weiland’s.
While Dr. Acton is no longer state health director, she is still going to be the governor’s Chief Health Advisor.
Despite protests at her home and some lawmakers’ efforts to limit her power, Dr. Acton says she’s resigning because she felt like she was trying to do three jobs at once and wants to be able to focus on the pandemic along with Ohio’s overall health.